My thoughts on Anne of Green Gables: I loved this book, the character of Anne is funny, loveable and charming. And the setting of Avonlea is gorgeous, a place which feeds Anne’s wonderful imagination:
“Listen to the trees talking in their sleep,” she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground. “What nice dreams they must have!”
There’s so much to like about chatting, dreamy Anne and I found myself recognising my own childhood dreamy self, though I was shy. I love her postitive outlook on the world, despite the fact that she is an orphan and has seen hardships in life she never loses her optimism, I envy that:
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
She seems like a good role model for a child if only she didn’t get herself into so many scrapes and have such a temper at times. However she is just a child and sometimes the mistakes she makes are because of Marilla neglecting to tell her she’s moved or switched something on the shelf!
The characters are so well developed that you could easily write a study on all of them. Marilla is a guarded, unemotional woman who tries to bring Anne up right but fails to see her own mistakes, although happily criticises Anne hers. Matthew is a gentle, kind soul painfully shy and always wanting the best for Anne.
Here’s my pick of my favourite quotes from Anne of Green Gables, I just couldn’t help highlighting them, sometimes she is so funny. She has such poignant words and also words of wisdom. I love her honesty and her spirit.
“We are rich,” said Anne staunchly. “Why, we have sixteen years to our credit, and we’re happy as queens, and we’ve all got imaginations, more or less. Look at that sea, girls—all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds. You wouldn’t change into any of those women if you could. Would you want to be that white-lace girl and wear a sour look all your life, as if you’d been born turning up your nose at the world? Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout and short that you’d really no figure at all? Or even Mrs. Evans, with that sad, sad look in her eyes? She must have been dreadfully unhappy sometime to have such a look. You know you wouldn’t, Jane Andrews!”
This is the best:
Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes—what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows—what new landscapes—what new beauties—what curves and hills and valleys further on.”
A big Thank You to everyone who joined in with Anne of Green Gables this month .. I think that choice was an over-ridding success and has introduced a few of our younger Book Buddies to the joyous world of Anne Shirley ..
There are only a few days until the beginning of May, so I am pleased to reveal our next Read-along-Classic .. I promised obscure, although the Author seems to be 'of the moment' in another discussion thread ..
Jezebel's Daughter by Wilkie Collins
" In the matter of Jezebel's Daughter, my recollections begin with the deaths of two foreign gentlemen, in two different countries, on the same day of the same year. They were both men of some importance in their way, and both strangers to each other. Mr. Ephraim Wagner, merchant (formerly of Frankfort-on-the-Main), died in London on the third day of September, 1828. Doctor Fontaine-famous in his time for discoveries in experimental chemistry-died at Wurzburg on the third day of September, 1828. Both the merchant and the doctor left widows. The merchant's widow (an Englishwoman) was childless. The doctor's widow (of a South German family) had a daughter to console her .. "
As promised, this is available FREE to download via kindle, and does appear to be of a manageable size ..
" 'The power that I have dreamed of all my life is mine at last !'
How far is a mother prepared to go to secure her daughter's future ? Madame Fontaine, widow of an eminent chemist, has both the determination and the cunning to bring young Minna's marriage plans to fruition, with dangerous consequences for anyone who dares to stand in her way. But has she met her match in Jack Straw, one-time inmate of Bedlam lunatic asylum ? It will take a visit to the morgue to find out who triumphs - and who comes out alive .. "
The synopsis given above does not do it justice .. you can get it from Amazon for free .. come and join in ..
Whoops !! Forgot that I hadn't added my review of the May Read ..
Jezebel's Daughter by Wilkie Collins
I have found it difficult to express how this book made me feel .. the fact that this was my first read by WC would not make it unusual .. In fact, I have Moonstone & The Woman in White still to read, but that this almost 'unknown' work appears to have been overshadowed by those mentioned above is a total shame ..
A brilliant read with strong characters and plenty of murderous intent that Agatha Christie would be proud of .. I read it in under two days, having to download it to my phone when my iPad needed charging so I didn't have to wait .. I was enthralled and needed to know how it would all unravel ..
It is a great insight into life during the 1820's .. add two determined women, a possible murder, a forbidden romance and a social experiment into 'madness', and at about a quarter of the way through, I was struggling to decide whether I what I was reading was serious, satirical or pure comedy gold ..
As the story unravels itself, we find our young hero in the unenviable position of realising he knows too much about a close circle of people he seems to have unwittingly brought together .. what was supposed to be a simple task of acting as a go between for two unrequited lovers, soon gets more complicated and following a poisoning, his suspicions develop ..
On the one hand, a woman is simply trying to secure a happyilly married future for her daughter, with the man she loves, but when the mothers' murky past gets in the way, she must find a way to succeed .. Here we are then treated to a darker side, a series of murderous plots and sub-plots, and our young hero doesn't know who to trust or believe ..
The arrival of his Aunt, with the male companion (manservant) she has 'saved' from a mental asylum, brings yet more twists, another poisoning, a truly weird night at the morgue, a comedy of errors and a completely brilliant ending ..
This book was compelling from the start: Wilkie Collins has a brilliant way of drawing you into the story, taking you to various places: a mental asylum, a Dead House and introducing you to various characters, all adding to a suspenseful mystery that unfolds as the story progesses.
It's unusual to read a classic book that features a character devoted to encouraging women to work during this time, but this one does. I enjoyed reading about the character of Madame Fontaine and trying to figure out her mind. Wilkie Collins does not hold anything back, there are no loose ends and in doing so you get an accurate picture of the character and an interesting read. Although there is so much going on and insight into various ideas: the treatment of the patients in the asylum, the idea of women working and the story of a couple in love with impediments to their marriage, it is a book that is always interesting and rivetting.
There in one chilling well-wrought scene towards the end of the novel which makes me want to read more by this author. I'd never heard about Wilkie Collins until recently but I'm going to be reading more soon. Looking forward to the next read...
I recently managed to find a relatively cheap Oxford Classics edition of this book and will certainly recommend it to my reading group. Haven't read it yet, apart from the excellent introduction. (Does the Kindle version have an introduction?) Collins developed the novel from an unpublished play of his, 'The Red Vial,' performed in 1858, which was a complete disaster. Obviously it was a Victorian melodrama, with flimsy characters, but the audience apparently took it for a farce. One scene in particular, where a corpse seems to come to life, sent them into hysterics. The Oxford introduction also deals with the theme of transgressive women, common in Victorian fiction, especially 'sensation novels.' Collins' novel 'Armadale' features another wicked female character, Lydia Gwilt, who also uses poison in her schemes. Collins was no doubt interested in such women because there were many famous contemporary cases of poisonings carried out by women, e.g. Florence Maybrick, Madeleine Smith. (Actually, I believe that the Maybrick murder happened after the publication of 'Jezebel's Daughter,' but it's one of the most infamous examples of the fascination that such crimes held for the Victorians.)